Not surprisingly, teachers are up in arms over the proposed change to their power over impressionable children.
The code of ethics bill, LD-589, was introduced by Larry Lockman and co-sponsored by several other legislators. It would outline the professional conduct that must be observed by public school teachers in the state and prohibits them “from engaging in political, ideological, or religious advocacy in the classroom.”
Specific provisions prohibit “introducing any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught.”
Many people are hailing the proposal.
They argue that children are constantly bombarded with slanted history and identity ideology that leans strongly left.
The bill does not restrict teachers from bring up contentious topics included in academic discussion, but forbids teachers from “advocat[ing] in a partisan manner for any side of a controversial issue” and requires that teachers “provide students with materials supporting both sides of a controversial issue being addressed and to present both sides in a fair-minded, nonpartisan manner.”
The bill also outlaws “segregating students according to race or singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students”—a tactic often used by educators who attempt to institute their vision of “social justice” by excoriating Caucasian students for their “white privilege.”
Educators’ response to the measure has been hysterical.
A teacher at Casco Bay High School took especial offense at the bill’s prohibition on racism, tweeting:
“LD 589 proposes that ME teachers be fired for ‘singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities faced by another racial group of students.’ This institutionalizes white fragility & [seriously], teaching is never apolitical.”
Matthew Drewette-Card, a curriculum developer for one of Maine’s public school districts (which is already widely leftist) wrote, “An educators’ right to constitutional protections do not end when s/he walks into a school or classroom. This bill would stifle the views, opinions, and rights to speech, protest, and assembly that are guaranteed freedoms in our constitution.”
However, his argument has no merit.
“Public school teachers have professional responsibilities as government workers and educators which abridge their First Amendment rights in the classroom. While teachers are entitled to freedom of speech in the course of their ordinary lives as citizens, but they are not entitled to say anything they want when speaking to students in a public school classroom.
“They are not allowed to utter obscenities, they are not allowed to teach students that 2+2=5, or that the earth is flat—although all of these forms of speech are constitutionally protected in their ordinary lives.”
Likewise, “Clergy at religious institutions that claim non-profit tax status are also forbidden from engaging in certain speech such as endorsing candidates for office while representing their house of worship. And the Hatch Act forbids employees of the federal government from numerous forms of political speech and activity including running for public office in a partisan election, soliciting or discouraging the political activity of anyone with business before their agency, and engaging in forms of political activity while on duty, in a government office or while wearing an official uniform.
“The Hatch Act specifically exempts state and local public school teachers. But in the case of Briggs vs. United States, Intervenor, decided in 2003 by the United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, the court upheld an earlier ruling that the Hatch Act applies to a teacher, Tom Briggs, employed by the District of Columbia Public Schools.”
That ruling outlined that the state DOES have a right to regulate the speech and activities of state employees, “because the states retain all powers not delegated to the federal government-unlike the District of Columbia, which has only those powers that Congress is willing to grant it-states have the authority to set their own limits on their employees’ political activities, and states should be given leeway to exercise that authority if they so choose.”
Moreover, other people have pointed out that the white shaming that goes on daily in public schools fails to account for historical facts.
Drewette-Card objected to the provision prohibiting “Segregating students according to race or singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students,” claiming that “this bill seeks to deny historical fact.”
Even the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.org, admits, “Slavery was prevalent in many parts of Africa for many centuries before the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade. There is evidence that enslaved people from some parts of Africa were exported to states in Africa, Europe, and Asia prior to the European colonization of the Americas.”
Yet, many educators continue to push the discredited narrative that “white privilege” is responsible for society’s racial ills.
“It is meant to restore just basic principles of public education in a democracy and to prevent teachers from inserting partisan politics into their teaching,” explained Larry Lockman, the bill’s sponsor.
“Since the beginnings of public education in the United States, it’s been assumed that in a democracy teachers should teach children how to think, not teach them what to think. But now we have progressive teachers, administrators, textbook publishers, and they are pushing to ensure that children as early as kindergarten practice ‘correct thinking’ and I’m using the air quotes here in the studio, ‘correct thinking’ on subjects such as racial guilt, gender identity, illegal immigration, or other controversial issues,” he continued.
“So simply put, this code of ethics would forbid teachers from endorsing candidates as part of their classroom instruction, from introducing controversial material not germane to subjects being taught and generally from using their classrooms as bully pulpits for political, social or religious advocacy,” Rep. Lockman concluded. “Parents want teachers to leave their partisan politics at the schoolhouse door.”
Many people argue that such restrictions in Maine would be a beginning for fighting the culture war created by one group of white people, attempting to control the thoughts and actions of another group of white people.